Disclaimer: not my characters, not my worlds, no infringement intended. I'll put everyone back where they came from when I'm done playing with them.
Author's note: The timeline on my Mare Nubium series goes AU from the end of season 4 to the middle of season 5, with wolfy!Xander coming back to Sunnydale a little bit after 'Into the Woods'. From that point on, it follows series canon for the big events (Glory, Dark Willow, the Potentials) for the rest of the televised series. But there are smaller parts of the bigger story where things did go differently for Xander during that time frame. The ficlets posted here are from some of those times.
Something Redder- a missing scene from Villains
I can do this, Xander thought as he looked at Tara's body. He walked across the room and squatted down beside her. Then as he leaned forward to kiss her on the cheek, he dipped his hands into the blood that pooled underneath her. The blood had long gone cool, and was now starting to congeal. If it hadn't been for the little bit of hyena he still had inside of him, he didn't know if he could do what needed to be done.
"I need to go take a shower, go clean myself up. I've had too many other peoples' blood on me today," he told Buffy and Dawn as he stood back up.
"Dawn, do you want to go find Xander some clothes? I'll watch her until the ambulance shows up," Buffy softly said.
"Okay, I can do that." Dawn said as she began to walk toward the basement. He had gotten in the habit of keeping at least a pair of jeans and a few shirts at Buffy's house in case of emergency.
"Thanks, Dawn. Just leave them outside the bathroom door," he said.
He walked upstairs and walked into the bathroom, locking the door behind him. Using one elbow, he managed to turn the faucet on for the tub, hoping the noise from it would cover up his other actions. For the most part, Buffy and Dawn had accepted how he had come back from St. Louis changed, but this was something that was inhuman enough that he wasn't quite sure he could explain it so that they could understand it. He turned around so he sat on the edge of the tub and began.
Tara Maclay. She hadn't been lukoi, but over time, she had come to be pack in her own way. She had fought with them even though she had never been a fighter. He had been amazed at how she could have the courage to act all the while she had smelled like she should have been too terrified to move. She had stood up to Glory, and had been willing to pay a high price to keep Dawn safe. She had had the strength to walk away from Willow, and the heart and kindness to forgive her in the end. What she had done in a too-short life shouldn't be forgotten.
With tears in his eyes, he looked at his hands and began to carefully and reverently lick the blood from his palms. Don't let all of it, all of her have been lost from the world when her soul left her body, he prayed. Let me take a little of her strength inside of me, let it be something I can draw on when it doesn't seem like I would have the strength to go on. Her enemies were my enemies as well. Let me use her courage to defeat them.
As he finished cleaning his hands, the tears began to flow freely. Through his grief, he felt resolve growing. Someone had taken one of their own from them, and someone should have to pay the price for that.